A Little Love, Please?

Article based on a friend's experience

I just wanted to share an experience I just had with my daughters, Yee Ting and Yee Sin.

Yee Ting is three years old this month while Yee Sin is only one-month old. Yee Ting has always been a rather good girl, apart from the occasional tantrum outbursts sprinkling our usual day. She would tell me when she wanted to eat, wear the clothes I tell her to wear, watch her TV and then play with her toys, without much hassle.

As a stay-at-home mom, I really appreciated her obedience because it made it possible for me to perform my household chores while she went along with her usual day. She has not attended preschool yet, although we're thinking about it. Maybe next year, we'll send her to a good one. I am very picky about the kind of schools she goes to. Maybe that's why I have been delaying the decision.

Yee Sin was born only a month ago and is generally a very happy baby but she's quite fussy. She tends to be very fussy about wanting me to feed her, even when my mother comes over to help once in a while. My mother has problems feeding, changing and helping her sleep. In the end, my mother comes over to perform the house chores while I find the time to play and cuddle with Yee Sin.

Ever since Yee Sin was born, Yee Ting has been on the edge. She has behaved very badly at times, screaming and shouting. She even kicked at me one time, which made me very mad with her. I lost my temper and shouted at her. I even hit her a few times. I know I shouldn't but I couldn't control myself because I felt all stressed out with the piles of dishes waiting for me and I needed to feed and bathe Yee Sin before I attended to those things. Yee Ting was very sorry after that and she sat in one corner, ignoring me and my husband (when he came back). She read her books in that corner, took her milk and then went to sleep cuddling her dolly in that corner.

I felt terrible about hitting her and vow never to do it again.

Then I took both my daughters to buy some groceries one morning in a nearby shopping mall. Let me get this straight, going to the shopping mall together happens to be one of those special activities for me and Yee Ting before Yee Sin was born. We would go there and run around like wild horses. She would play hide and seek in the clothes department, hiding behind the clothes for sale and I would pretend to look for her. Because we go there during office hours, there are usually not many people there and staff ignores us. So, we usually have a ball there.

This time, I was carrying Yee Sin in my arms while I insisted that Yee Ting walk alongside me. The stuff I bought was sitting in the stroller destined for the kids. When Yee Ting hid behind the clothes, I barked at her and told her to come right out. "Come out! Mommy has got no time to play with you!" I shouted. Solemnly, Yee Ting trotted along with me.

Everything has changed. The world has changed. Mommy has changed. And it's all because Yee Sin came along.

When we came home, Yee Ting behaved very naughtily. She pulled the tablecloth from the table and ruined the vase and flower arrangements. She kicked around when she couldn't find her color pencils. And when I was carrying Yee Sin, she would climb all over me and Yee Sin, hoping to get in between.

Thank goodness, my mother came. Amazingly, Yee Sin took to my mother that day. And I had the time to look at Yee Ting in the eye and reprimand her for her wrongdoing. I told her to come to my room as I had some things to tell her. I went to the room before her. I waited for her while she ran around the living room looking for her things. She brought her books, her dolly and her play-doh. When she entered the room, she cautiously tiptoed.

Then it struck me, this little young lady has finally found mommy all alone, with nothing to do. She has finally caught mommy in a moment whereby she would be free from everything. It is possible that mommy is now the way she was before. But she has to be careful. This time is precious so, in order not to spoil anything, she would tiptoe around.

I felt very guilty. I felt terrible. I was being a terrible mom to Yee Ting. For all those times I scolded her for being naughty, she was trying to get me to pay attention to her. She was trying to tell me something emotional like, "Mommy's always with Yee Sin. I am jealous!", "I want my mommy back", "I feel hurt", "I feel left out" and "Mommy! Pay attention to me. I need you too!". But she doesn't have the vocabulary for it yet.

I sat with her in the room for half an hour, playing, reading, laughing, joking, smiling, cuddling and I told her I love her about a million times. After all the playing, I said to her, "Ting, mommy's sorry. I have no time for you, and I am extremely sorry for that. I love you. I love you tremendously and don't doubt that. It's difficult for mommy right now but nothing changed. I still love you. I need you to be a big girl, ok? I need you to be strong. I promise to make time for you everyday. I promise"

And this promise?..I kept. Yee Ting has never been better.

And as the title goes?a little love changed a little girl from a little monster to a little angel. A little love goes a long way.

Marsha Maung is a work at home freelance graphic designer and writer. She resides in Selangor, Malaysia with her husband, Peter and 2 boys, Joshua and Jared. She is the author of "Raising Little Magicians" and other work at home books. For more information, please visit http://www.marshamaung.com

In The News:

How Children Evolved to Whine  The New York Times
Nurturing modern age kids  Deccan Chronicle
Online advice on parenting  New Straits Times
Open-access parenting programme shows promise  University of Cape Town News

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